Judge OKs transfer of Grand Wailea to an investment firm

A bankruptcy judge in New York approved a plan last week to sell the Grand Wailea and three other U.S. luxury resorts to a Singaporean government investment fund, according to court documents.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane on Friday OK’d the sale in which the Government of Singapore Investment Corp., known as GIC in court documents, will pay $1.5 billion to a resort group owned by hedge fund Paulson & Co., MSR Resort Golf Course LLC, for the properties.

The sale includes the Grand Wailea; the La Quinta Resort & Club and the PGA West golf course in La Quinta, Calif.; the Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley, Calif.; and the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

The hotels – all of which are managed under Hilton’s luxury Waldorf Astoria brand, except for the Berkeley property – have been operating under bankruptcy protection since February 2011.

GIC is a sovereign wealth fund that manages Singapore’s foreign-exchange reserves. The fund manages an estimated $300 billion in diversified assets in more than 40 countries.

Paulson and co-investor Winthrop Realty Trust took over the Grand Wailea and several other resorts by foreclosing on the previous owner. Soon after, the Grand Wailea and four other resorts were put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to prevent foreclosure of $1 billion in mortgages and $525 million in maturing mezzanine debt held by the Singaporean investment fund, MetLife and others.

The fifth property – the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami – was sold to real estate investor Donald Trump last year for $150 million.

Attempts to reach Grand Wailea officials Monday afternoon were unsuccessful.